The American Kafir

2012/04/24

Action Alert – Best Buy: TV’s, Computers and Hamas

Source Link: Islamist Watch

Action Alert – Best Buy: TV’s, Computers and Hamas

by Marc J. Fink

Ailing Retail Giant Sponsors Hamas-Linked Islamist Group, Refuses to Rule Out Future Funding to Islamic Radicals

Think again before buying your next flat-screen television or computing device from Best Buy.

The struggling retail giant recently used profits from American consumers to fund the annual banquet of a group closely linked to Hamas. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently listed Best Buy as a “Platinum Sponsor.” Best Buy has refused to rule out future support for CAIR through numerous messages to its public relations department. The big box retailer is already in chaos amid the recent resignation of its CEO for personal misconduct, dwindling sales and bond downgrades.

The United States government named CAIR an “unindicted co-conspirator” to fund the terrorist group Hamas in America’s most significant terror financing trial. The U.S. also identified CAIR as an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharing the common goal of dismantling American institutions and turning the U.S. into a Sharia-compliant, Islamic state through incremental, stealth jihad.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper (left) and CAIR co-founder and long-time board member Omar Ahmad (right) have both said they would like to see an America ruled by Sharia. The U.S. government has linked CAIR to the terror group Hamas in Gaza (center).

And that’s only the beginning. For all the details and links, see the bullet points below — after the jump at the bottom of the post.

Utterly outrageous, yes. But outrage is not enough. Action is required. The Goal is a commitment from Best Buy to never again use profits from American consumers to finance Islamic radicals.

Here is how you can make a difference:

  • If you don’t like the idea of your consumer electronics, software and appliance dollars going to fund groups aligned with Hamas and pledged to turning America into a Sharia-compliant, Islamic state, write and/or call Best Buy and let them know. Best Buy Public Relations Department: 612-292-NEWS (6397) or NewsCenter@bestbuy.com. Susan Busch, Director of Public Relations: susan.busch@bestbuy.com. Lisa Hawks, Deputy Director of Public Relations: lisa.hawks@bestbuy.com
  • Feel free to use/copy/paste the bullet points below. But try to put it in your own words and make it personal. Share any responses from Best Buy with us at islamist-watch@meforum.org.
  • Tell your friends and family about Best Buy and about Islamist Watch. If they join our mailing list (link at top of Islamist-Watch.org), they’ll receive future action alerts and can help make a difference.

Here are the details on CAIR:

  • Current CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper was quoted as saying: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. … But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
  • Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) described CAIR in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as an organization “which we know has ties to terrorism.” FDCH Political Transcripts, Sept. 10, 2003.

CAIR’s Announcement of Best Buy as a Platinum Sponsor:

Related Topics:  Entertainment / Media, Lawful Islamism, Lobby Groups, Workplace  |  Marc J. Fink receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free islamist watch mailing list This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

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2012/04/20

New Law: Virginia will not cooperate with NDAA detention

New Law: Virginia will not cooperate with NDAA detention

Source

RICHMOND, Va. – On Wednesday, the Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that forbids state agencies from cooperating with any federal attempt to exercise the indefinite detention without due process provisions written into sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

HB1160 “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”

The legislature previously passed HB1160 and forwarded it to Gov. Bob McDonnell for his signature. Last week, the governor agreed to sign the bill with a minor amendment. On Wednesday, the House of Delegates passed the amended version of the legislation 89-7. Just hours later, the Senate concurred by a 36-1 vote.

Bill sponsor Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) says that since the legislature passed HB1150 as recommended by the governor, it does not require a signature and will become law effective July 1, 2012.

Several states recently passed resolutions condemning NDAA indefinite detention, but Virginia becomes the first state to pass a law refusing compliance with sections 1021 and 1022.

“In the 1850s, northern states felt that habeas corpus was so important that they passed laws rejecting the federal fugitive slave act. The bill passed in Massachusetts was so effective, not one single runaway slave was returned south from that state. Today, Virginia joins in this great American tradition,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. “When the federal government passes unconstitutional so-called laws so destructive to liberty – it’s the people and the states that will stand up and say, ‘NO!’ May the other states now follow the lead taken today by Virginia.”

For more information on the new Virginia law, click HERE.

###

The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. A national think tank based in Los Angeles, the Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.

Contact: Mike Maharrey
Communications director
O: 213.935.0553
media@tenthamendmentcenter.com
http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com

For Immediate Release:April 18, 2012

2012/04/15

Taliban hits Afghan capital, other cities in rare coordinated attack

And Obama wants to negotiate with the Taliban???W

 Source WaPo

Taliban hits Afghan capital, other cities in rare coordinated attack

PARWIZ/REUTERS – Soldiers from the Afghan National Army keep watch near the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) as smoke rises from the site of an attack in Jalalabad province April 15, 2012. Gunmen launched multiple attacks in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, assaulting Western embassies in the heavily guarded, central diplomatic area and at the parliament in the west, witnesses and officials said.

By Kevin Sieff, Javed Hamdard and Sayed Salahuddin,

KABUL– Insurgents attacked cities across eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, including at least two prominent targets in Kabul, in a rare coordinated attack spanning some of the country’s most important urban centers. The Taliban called the effort the beginning of their spring offensive.By early afternoon, insurgents were still firing rocket-propelled grenades and rifles from an unfinished commercial building in central Kabul. From their perch, at least four men fired in the direction of the German embassy and NATO’s military headquarters, both of which were just a few hundred yards from the attackers.

Life and war in Afghanistan: April 2012: Our continuing photo coverage shows Afghan life as coalition forces fight in the country.

Securing Highway 1 in Afghanistan

Click Here to View Full Graphic Story
Securing Highway 1 in Afghanistan

Less than an hour after the attack began, Afghan commandos and their NATO trainers entered the building. There were two large blast holes visible in the facade of the Kabul Star Hotel, frequented by westerners and wealthy Afghans, located just across the street from where the insurgents were firing.

A few miles away, another group of insurgents occupied a building across from the Afghan parliament, firing at the building.

“Armed insurgents, including some suicide bombers, have taken control of buildings in these areas,” said Sediq Sediqi, an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Attackers also targeted a NATO base in Jalalabad, as well as Afghan installations in the capitals of Logar and Paktia provinces, according to officials.

“The attackers occupied a building opposite a university in the city of Gardez and were firing at various directions, including government buildings,” said Rohullah Samoon, a spokesman for the governor of Paktia.

At least two insurgents were killed in Kabul, officials said, but gunfire was ongoing three hours after the attack began.

“This is a message that our spring offensive has begun,” said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who said the primary targets were western military and diplomatic installations.

While the Taliban has successfully executed spectacular attacks in Kabul before — including the protracted attack on the U.S. embassy in September — insurgents have never attacked so many disparate targets simultaneously.

2012/04/13

Israel Pays for Christian Acid Attack Victim’s Care

Filed under: Acid Attack, Christianity, Israel, Jihad, Muslim, Shari'a Law — - @ 10:16 am

H/T FrontPageMag

Yet another reason why the Jewish State is the moral center for the Middle East. Visit TheUnitedWest.org.

Israel Pays for Christian Acid Attack Victim’s Care

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2012/04/12

Egyptian court clears way for Salafi presidential candidate in election race

Source Al Arabiya News

Egyptian court clears way for Salafi presidential candidate in election race

By AL ARABIYA WITH AGENCIES

An Egyptian court has ruled that the mother of a popular ultraconservative Islamist viewed as one of the strongest contenders for president is not a U.S. citizen, likely clearing the way for him to run in May elections.

Hazem Abu Ismail (For more read the article linked below the video) is a 50-year-old lawyer-turned-preacher with a large following of enthusiastic supporters, particularly from the country’s ultraconservative Salafi movement.

The country’s electoral commission last week said it received documents confirming that Ismail’s mother was an American citizen, effectively disqualifying him from the race.

“On Saturday, the high electoral committee received a letter from the Foreign Ministry informing it that Nawal Abdel-Aziz, mother of Hazem Abu Ismail, obtained American nationality on Oct. 25, 2006,” the commission chief Hatem Degato told Reuters.

Begato said on Thursday that the agency had received information according to which Abu Ismail’s mother had “used an American passport for travel to and from Egypt” before her death.

But the Cairo Administrative Court on Wednesday said authorities did not have sufficient documents to prove she was a U.S. citizen.

Under the country’s electoral law, all candidates for the presidency, their parents and their wives must have only Egyptian citizenship.

Abu Ismail advocates a strict interpretation of Islam similar to the one practiced in Saudi Arabia and has become a familiar sight in Cairo, with his posters adorning many cars and micro buses.

“Our only demand is to cancel the negative decision of the refusal of the interior ministry to give [Abu Ismail] a certificate that his mother doesn’t hold dual citizenship,” said Gaber Nassar, Abu Ismail’s lawyer early on Wednesday before the ruling was announced, according to Daily News Egypt.

The session was adjourned repeatedly during the day as supporters of the Salafi candidate filled the court room and also demonstrated outside the State Council. It was the second hearing; the first was on Tuesday.

On Friday, thousands of people rallied in central Cairo in support of his candidacy.

“The people want Hazem Abu Ismail! No to manipulation!” the demonstrators shouted after making their way through central Cairo to Tahrir Square, epicenter of last year’s revolt which toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

The protesters, including women in full Islamic veil, carried portraits of Abu Ismail and waved their fists, angrily condemning any attempt to disqualify their candidate.

Abu Ismail launched his candidacy on March 30 with a large motorcade that took him to electoral commission headquarters in Cairo.

He would compete with more moderate Islamist candidates such as senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Khairat el-Shater and former regime figures such as ex-foreign minister Amr Mussa.

Islamists have made big strides since Mubarak’s ouster, winning majorities in elections to both houses of parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won the most seats in parliamentary elections earlier this year, but the Salafists captured nearly a quarter themselves.

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Related Article Egyptian Presidential Candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail – “U.S. Authorities Refused to Investigate 9/11, Which Was ‘Fabricated’ To Defame Islam”

Egyptian Presidential Candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail – “U.S. Authorities Refused to Investigate 9/11, Which Was ‘Fabricated’ To Defame Islam”

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 6:41 pm
Egyptian Presidential Candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail – Whose Candidacy Is In Jeopardy Due To Mother’s U.S. Citizenship – And Mother Discuss Rise of Islam In U.S., Claim U.S. Authorities Refused to Investigate 9/11, Which Was ‘Fabricated’ To Defame Islam – In 2004 MEMRI TV Clip Of Interview On Saudi Iqraa TV

Following speculation that the mother of Islamist Egyptian presidential candidate Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail held U.S. citizenship, and his denials, Egypt’s electoral commission this week confirmed that the mother, Nawwal Abd Al-Aziz Nur, had become a U.S. citizen in October 2006. Since Egypt’s constitution prohibits candidates whose parents hold dual nationality, Ismail could be disqualified from the race.[1] According to The New York Times, Ismail’s denunciations of American power had helped make him a leading candidate in the presidential race.[2]

In July 2004, MEMRI TV translated an interview on the Saudi-based Iqraa TV with Ismail and his mother, who were identified as preaching and teaching Islam in the U.S. The mother noted that she had come to the country due to “family circumstances” and had taught at universities and other places. At one point in the interview, the host said to Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, “As far as I know, you also go to America to preach da’wa to Islam.” Hazem said, “I live in Egypt, I never lived elsewhere, but by traveling to make da’wa I learn about the situation of the Muslims and non-Muslims abroad.” At another point, he said that he went to the U.S. for visits.

In the interview, the two focused on the aftermath of 9/11 in the U.S., with the mother claiming that Islam had increased there following the attacks – which said had never even been investigated. In contrast, the son claimed that 9/11 was “fabricated from the outset as part of the global groundwork for the distortion of Islam’s image.”

  The following are excerpts from the interview (to view this MEMRI TV clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/97/168.htm); following that are links to more MEMRI TV clips of Ismail.

Host: “I would like to ask you about the image of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. following the events of 9/11. Was this image completely distorted?”

Nawwal Nur: “No, not at all, praise Allah. The number of Muslims over there has risen, and people know more about Islam. Initially, they were very surprised to hear that there is a religion such as this, and then they began reading about it more and more. Islamic culture increased in this period. I do not believe that–”

Host: “Did this horrible event, condemned by all the Muslims in the world, not change the image of Islam in the U.S.?”

Nawwal Nur: “No, not at all, it has not even been proven that Muslims committed it. There hasn’t even been an investigation, there is nothing. They are confused about what happened. That is why they started to learn about Islam. Is it really possible that Islam would instigate such a thing? No, impossible. That is why more people converted to Islam.”

Host: “Even if we were to claim that some Muslims committed such a thing and we would accept this hypothetically, then the responsibility for this lies squarely on those who committed it, not on Islam.”

Nawwal Nur: “True. The U.S. is full of terrorism and gangs, and it has violence, murder and perversions. Is Christianity responsible for all this?

Host: “No, of course not.”

Nawwal Nur: “Not at all, I mean, these are individual cases.”

Host: “Even if one Muslim made a mistake, it’s his responsibility and not Islam’s, not Islam’s.

“Sir, do you agree with your mother’s description?”

Abu Ismail: I “Believe These Events [9/11] Were Fabricated From the Outset As Part Of the Global Groundwork For the Distortion Of Islam’s Image”

Read the rest of the article at MEMRI

Clinton Overrules Republican Lawmaker’s Hold on Palestinian Aid

Much like her boss Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton has no respect for the Constitutional Laws and the peoples elected officials. Why do we elect representation? Has congress no spine and tell Obama and his Administrative minions they are out of line? W

Source National Journal

Clinton Overrules Republican Lawmaker’s Hold on Palestinian Aid

Ros-Lehtinen: “Where is the accountability for U.S. taxpayer dollars?”

By Sara Sorcher

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the G8 foreign ministers at the start of a working session at Blair House in Washington on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is allowing U.S. funds to flow to the West Bank and Gaza despite a hold by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., a rare display of executive-branch authority that angered the key lawmaker concerned about protecting her congressional oversight role.

A State Department official said that a letter was delivered on Tuesday to key members of Congress informing them of Clinton’s decision to move forward with the $147 million package of the fiscal year 2011 economic support funds for the Palestinian people, despite Ros-Lehtinen’s hold. Administrations generally do not disburse funding over the objections of lawmakers on relevant committees.

The funds deliver “critical support to the Palestinian people and those leaders seeking to combat extremism within their society and build a more stable future. Without funding, our programs risk cancellation,” the official, who was not authorized to speak about the issue, said in an e-mail. “Such an occurrence would undermine the progress that has been made in recent years in building Palestinian institutions and improving stability, security, and economic prospects, which benefits Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Late last month, Ros-Lehtinen sent a letter to Clinton and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, informing them she will lift her hold on some $88.6 million of the Palestinian aid package — out of the full $147 million — under special conditions. Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, agreed to release her hold on the full assistance package on humanitarian grounds.

“The U.S. has given $3 billion in aid to the Palestinians in the last five years alone, and what do we have to show for it?” Ros-Lehtinen said on Wednesday in a statement to National Journal. “Now the administration is sending even more. Where is the accountability for U.S. taxpayer dollars?”

Ros-Lehtinen earlier said she was disappointed that the administration “would employ hardball tactics against Congress and threaten to send, over congressional objection, U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority.” She does not want the funds used for assistance and recovery programs in Hamas-run Gaza; road construction projects in the West Bank, unless vital for security; or trade facilitation, tourist promotion, or scholarships for Palestinian students.

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Death to Churches

Filed under: Christianity, Jihad, MIddle East, Murder, Muslim, Nigeria, Shari'a Law — - @ 5:51 pm

Death to Churches

By Raymond Ibrahim

The following article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Last Sunday, many Christians around the world celebrated Easter, taking it for granted that they can congregate and worship in peace.  Not so; in the Islamic world, where top religious officials call for the destruction of churches, Christian holidays celebrated in church are increasingly a time of death and destruction, a time of terror.

Nigeria, for example, saw some 50 Christians killed “when explosives concealed in two cars went off near a church during Easter Sunday services in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna…. the casualty figure may go up because some injuries were really critical.”  The church targeted was “the Assemblies of God’s Church near the centre of the city with a large Christian population and known as a major cultural and economic centre in Nigeria’s north.” According to the pastor holding Easter services at the time, “We were in the Holy Communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church.”

There is little doubt that the Islamist group Boko Haram is behind the terror strike.  The group has long been targeting churches—most notoriously, last December 25, when several churches were bombed in the Muslim majority areas of Nigeria, in what was described as “Nigeria’s blackest Christmas ever”: then, over 40 Christians were slain, “the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church [in Madalla near the capital of Abuja] after celebrating Christmas Mass as blood pooled in dust from a massive explosion.” As usual, the charred and dismembered remains of Christian worshippers were seen scattered in and around the destroyed church.

While the Christmas—and now Easter—church attacks may be Nigeria’s most known, they are certainly not the only ones. Consider just the last few weeks:

  • Sunday, March 11: A Boko Haram suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church, killing at least 10 people. The bomb detonated as worshippers attended Mass at St. Finbar’s Catholic Church in Jos, a city where thousands of Christians have died in the last decadeas a result of Boko Haram’s jihad.
  • Sunday, February 26: A Boko Haram suicide car bomber killed at least three people, including a toddler, at another church in Jos. Witnesses said the jihadist drove his car into the prominent Church of Christ during morning prayers.
  • Sunday, February 19: A Boko Haram bomb attack outside a church in Abuja left at least five people seriously injured and manymore hurt, when a parked car filled with explosives detonated outside the Christ Embassy Church.

While the mainstream media, analysts, government officials, etc. try to portray these attacks as products of Nigerian poverty—most recently, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs insisted that “religion is not driving extremist violence” in Nigeria—the fact is, wherever in the world there are significant numbers of Muslims (Nigeria is essentially half Christian, half Muslim), churches are under siege (see sections dealing with church attacks in my “Muslim Persecution of Christians” reports for February, January,December, November, October, September, August, and July).

Read the entire article at FrontPageMag

Vetting Obama – Live Birth Abortion Survivor Law – Erosion of Individual Rights

Vetting Obama – Live Birth Abortion Survivor Law – Erosion of Individual Rights

By Walt Long

This year voting for a President of the United States, it is vital we know more about  Barack Hussein Obama. One of the issues that struck me was the attitude of the President concerning a law that would protect an infant that is born after it was aborted from the Mother. Obama refused to sign a law protecting a human life. All the pertinent articles and law are posted below. This should not be a Republican vs Democrat issue, we are talking about a human life,an innocent victim left on a cold slab to die. Obama gave orders to the Doctors and Nurses that they were not to administer to the life of this child…the baby would be left to die;Obama being the dictator of life or death.

We ,the American Citizen, have come to expect losing our individual rights at the hands of Obama and this administration. Our government, such as National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which gives the U.S. government authority to arrest and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial. If it has been suggested Conservatives are blowing this out of proportion I suggest reading… NDAA a Dangerous Precedent, Even With the Signing Statement.

Another individual right being taken away is the assassination of a United States Citizen without due process of the law, the only hearing allowed is not the Court of Law …but the court of Barack Hussein Obama’s law, with  Attorney General Eric Holder defending the decision.  I am talking about the assassination of, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both United States citizens,  by a CIA drone attack in Yemen on September 30 2011, authorized by Eric Holder,,Barack Hussein Obama, and a secretive government committee. Anwar al-Awlaki’s used Islam for terrorist incitements, yes he was a very evil man, however,  by being a United States citizen he should have been allowed his Constitutional rights by a trial before the Court of Law and his peers. If our government can kill two citizens then what would stop them from killing more? It is a very  dangerous precedence allowing the assassination of a United States Citizen by any secretive panel of senior government officials,



Documents show Obama cover-up on born-alive survivors bill

Source JillStanek

UPDATE, 4:30p: Ben Smith of The Politico has linked to this post.

UPDATE, 4p: Concerned Women for America has audio of an interview with me on this here.

UPDATE, 10:22a:Michelle Malkin has linked to this post.

UPDATE, 9:50a: Kathryn Lopez of National Review Online is covering the story.

Last week Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee drew my attention to a previously unnoticed January 2008 article by Terence Jeffrey stating Barack Obama actually did vote against a version of the IL Born Alive Infants Protection Act that was identical to the federal version, contrary to multiple public statements Obama or his surrogates have made to rationalize his opposition to the IL bill for the past 4 years.

Since then we have found 2 separate documents proving Barack Obama has been misrepresenting facts.

In fact, Barack Obama is more liberal than any U.S. senator, voting against identical language of a bill that body passed unanimously, 98-0. In fact, Barack Obama condones infanticide if it would otherwise interfere with abortion.

Here is the statement with documentation released by NRLC this morning…

New documents just obtained by NRLC, and linked below, prove that Senator [Barack] Obama has for the past four years blatantly misrepresented his actions on the IL Born-Alive Infants Protection bill.

Summary and comment by NRLC spokesman Douglas Johnson:

Newly obtained documents prove that in 2003, Barack Obama, as chairman of an IL state Senate committee, voted down a bill to protect live-born survivors of abortion – even after the panel had amended the bill to contain verbatim language, copied from a federal bill passed by Congress without objection in 2002, explicitly foreclosing any impact on abortion. Obama’s legislative actions in 2003 – denying effective protection even to babies born alive during abortions – were contrary to the position taken on the same language by even the most liberal members of Congress. The bill Obama killed was virtually identical to the federal bill that even NARAL ultimately did not oppose.

In 2000, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was first introduced in Congress. This was a two-paragraph bill intended to clarify that any baby who is entirely expelled from his or her mother, and who shows any signs of life, is to be regarded as a legal “person” for all federal law purposes, whether or not the baby was born during an attempted abortion. (To view the original 2000 BAIPA, click here.)

In 2002, the bill was enacted, after a “neutrality clause” was added to explicitly state that the bill expressed no judgment, in either direction, about the legal status of a human prior to live birth.

(The “neutrality” clause read, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being ‘born alive’ as defined in this section.”)

The bill passed without a dissenting vote in either house of Congress. (To view the final federal BAIPA as enacted, click here. To view a chronology of events pertaining to the federal BAIPA, click here.)

Continue reading the rest of the article Click Here

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2012/04/11

The Strange Case of Kenneth Michael Trentadue

Filed under: Barack Hussein Obama, Corruption, Eric Holder — Tags: — - @ 8:21 pm

View this document on Scribd

2012/04/08

Iran lawmaker: Country can produce nuclear weapons but will never do so

Source FoxNews

Iran lawmaker: Country can produce nuclear weapons but will never do so

| Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran –  Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons but will never do so, a prominent lawmaker has said.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam is a parliamentarian not a government official and his views do not represent the Iranian government’s policy. It however is the first time that such a prominent Iranian politician has publicly stated that Iran has the technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

His assertion published on parliament’s website late Friday suggests that Iran is trying to show unity in its political establishment around its often repeated claims that it seeks world-class technological advances including nuclear expertise, but does not want to develop atomic arms as the U.S. and its allies claim.

The statement comes before planned talks beginning next week with the U.S. and other world powers over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Moghadam said Iran can easily produce the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs, but that it is not Tehran’s policy to go that route.

“Iran has the scientific and technological capability to produce (a) nuclear weapon, but will never choose this path,” he said in remarks carried by the parliamentary website icana.ir.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges, saying its program is peaceful and geared toward generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly insisted that his country is not seeking nuclear weapons, saying that holding such arms is a sin as well as “useless, harmful and dangerous.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also asserted that if Iran one day decides to build nuclear weapons, it will do so openly and won’t fear anybody. However, he has also emphasized that Iran has no intention to weaponize what he describes as a peaceful nuclear program.

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper asserted in a January report to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Iran has the means to build a nuclear weapon but has not yet decided to follow through.

U.S. intelligence officials say they generally stand by a 2007 intelligence assessment that asserts Iran stopped comprehensive secret work on developing nuclear arms in 2003. But Britain, France, Germany, Israel and other U.S. allies think such activities have continued past that date, a suspicion shared by the IAEA, which says in recent reports that some isolated and sporadic activities may be ongoing.

However, the IAEA says there is no evidence to prove that Iran’s nuclear materials have been diverted towards weapons.

Iran says it is enriching uranium to about 3.5 percent to produce nuclear fuel for its future reactors and also to around 20 percent to fuel a research reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat cancer patients. Uranium has to be enriched to more than 90 percent to be used for a nuclear weapon.

The U.N. nuclear agency has also confirmed that centrifuges at the Fordo site near Iran’s holy city of Qom are churning out uranium enriched to 20 percent, and says uranium enriched to that level can more quickly be turned into weapons-grade material.

Moghadam, the lawmaker, said that Iran has the means to produce 90-plus percent enrichment.
“There is a possibility for Iran to easily achieve more than 90 percent enrichment,” icana.ir quoted Moghadam as saying.

2012/04/07

Islamic Indoctrination in Textbooks

Source TownHall

Islamic Indoctrination in Textbooks

By Phyllis Schlafly

Political correctness has a double standard when it comes to teaching about religion in public schools. Drop Christianity down the memory hole but give extensive and mostly favorable coverage to Islam.

Even the mainstream media have provided extensive coverage of the steady stream of court cases and threatening letters from the American Civil Liberties Union aimed at removing all signs of Judeo-Christianity from public schools. Not only must prayer be prohibited, a cross and the Ten Commandments removed or covered up, a valedictorian banned from thanking God for his help, a football coach prohibited from bowing his head during a student-led pre-game prayer, singing of Christmas carols banned, and school calendars required to recognize winter holiday instead of Christmas, but there is also the complete omission of the history of the Founding Fathers’ public recognition of Christianity.

An organization called ACT for America conducted an analysis of 38 textbooks used in the sixth- through 12th-grades in public schools, and found that since the 1990s, discussions of Islam are taking up more and more pages, while the space devoted to Judaism and Christianity has simultaneously decreased. In 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that American 12th graders scored lower in history than in any other subject, even lower than in science, math and economics.

Most of these students are too young to remember 9/11, so current textbook descriptions about 9/11 is all they will learn. In one textbook example of pro-Islamic revisionism, 9/11 is portrayed as “a horrible act of terrorism, or violence to further a cause,” without any mention that the attackers were Muslims or that the “cause” was Islamic jihad.

The textbooks generally give a false description of women’s rights under Islam. The books don’t reveal that women are subject to polygamy, a husband’s legal right to beat her, genital mutilation, and the scandalous practice misnamed “honor killings,” which allows a man to murder a daughter who dares to date a Christian.

Slavery is usually a favorite topic for the liberals, but historical revisionism is particularly evident in the failure to mention the Islamic slave trade. It began nearly eight centuries before the European-operated Atlantic slave trade and continues in some Muslim areas even today.

Other examples of historical revisionism in currently used textbooks include the omission of the doctrine of jihad or failure to accurately define it. Discussions of Muhammad’s life and character are often contrary to accepted historical facts.

Muslim conquests and imperialism are usually omitted or downplayed, and a completely false narrative about the Crusades is given. The books often falsely claim that Islam is tolerant of Jews and Christians.

Another technique is to describe Christian and Jewish religious traditions as mere stories attributable to some human source, whereas Islamic traditions are presented as indisputable historic facts. In one textbook, you can read that Moses “claimed” to receive the Ten Commandments from God but that Muhammad simply “received” the Koran from God.

ACT for America is sending its report to all U.S. school board members nationwide. We hope they read it and tell the publishers the schools won’t buy books that contain such errors and biases because that may be parents’ only remedy for this indoctrination.

In the year of 9/11, a big controversy erupted at Excelsior public school in Byron, Calif., where seventh graders were being taught a three-week course about the Islamic religion. This course required the kids to learn 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam’s Five Pillars of Faith, 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples, recite from the Koran, wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name, and stage their own “holy war” in a dice game.

Excelsior was using one of the textbooks that omit information about Islam’s wars, massacres, and cruelties against Christians and Jews. Christianity was mentioned only briefly and negatively, linked to the Inquisition and to Salem witch hunts.

The students were given Muslim names and told to recite Muslim prayers in class. They were required to give up things for a day to recognize the Islamic practice of Ramadan, and the teacher gave extra credit for fasting at lunch.

For the final exam, the students had to write an essay about Islamic culture. The essay assignment warned students in these words: “Be careful here; if you do not have something positive to say, don’t say anything!!!”

Parents naively thought they could appeal to the courts to uphold their right to reject this class for their children, which was really not education but behavior modification. They didn’t realize that federal court decisions have ruled consistently against parents’ rights and in favor of the authority of public schools to teach whatever they want.

The parents lost in court. And on Oct. 2, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the parents’ appeal from the lower court decision against them.

Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo. Phyllis Schlafly has been a leader of the pro-family movement since 1972, when Phyllis Schlafly started her national volunteer organization now called Eagle Forum. In a ten-year battle, Phyllis Schlafly led the pro-family movement to victory over the principal legislative goal of the radical feminists, called the Equal Rights Amendment. An articulate and successful opponent of the radical feminist movement, Phyllis Schlafly appears in debate on college campuses more frequently than any other conservative. Phyllis Schlafly was named one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.


Screenshots from a YouTube Video Titled “Kill The Jews!” Muslim Children Memorize and Recite Antisemitic Messages on Egyptian TV Channel







A social network site for jihadists?

Source CNN

A social network site for jihadists?

By Adam Levine

The advantage and attraction of social networking isn’t lost on the jihadist community, apparently. New postings on the Ansar al-Mujahideen Arabic forum have been discussing a proposal by one contributor to create a Facebook-like site for jihadists, according to SITE Intel Group, which monitors jihadists activities online.

The idea has surfaced as various jihadi sites have mysteriously gone dark, leaving some to speculate whether there was a covert takedown by a spy agency.

In a posting, the user identified as Rakan al-Ashja’i notes that the terror adherents depend on different online forums and social networking sites for posting propaganda and discussions.

“What I am hoping is to program an application that would spare them using all of that and also attract hundreds and thousands of new brothers to work in this field,” the jihadist posted, according to a translation provided by SITE. “It will register their memberships, then they need only enter and publish what they want in all the sites and forums underneath with the click of a button.”

“We will benefit from the ideas in Facebook a lot, Allah the almighty willing,” al-Ashja’i said.

The posting says the one-click would save time and allow for instant republishing on multiple jihadist sites.

“Most of their time is spent in searching for new sites and creating memberships and adding them to their list, instead of wasting time in publishing on the same site always,” the jihadist said. “Also, it will be fun and it will attract more brothers to work in publishing.”

The idea was met with mostly tepid interest, although it got some enthusiasm, according to responses translated by SITE.

“If I could make a social networking website with the same capabilities and everything like Facebook when it first appeared – it is a very good idea,” wrote a user identified as Muhannad al-Balqani. “It would be a social networking website independent from spies and agent media.”

One jihadist, who goes by Abu Hakim, said there could be a technical issue, because “the publishing sites will deal with this site as spam.”

Another jihadist warned of the difficulty of turning the idea into reality because “programming is a wonderful science, but it needs a lot of work and to engage your brain 200%.”

Al-Ashja’i does not seem put off by the concerns. “It will never be a big obstacle and we can pass it,” he wrote in response to one criticism.

Indonesian immigrants taking refuge in Highland Park church speak of religious persecution in home country

Source NJ.com

The Associated Press 

Indonesian immigrants taking refuge in Highland Park church speak of religious persecution in home country

Andrew Miller/For The Star-Ledger
Saul Timisela, 45, who has taken refuge from deportation at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, walks through one of the hallways of the church in March. Timisela is an Indonesian Christian who fears religious persecution if deported back to Indonesia, one of the world's largest Islamic countries.

HIGHLAND PARK — Indonesian immigrants being given sanctuary by a New Jersey church after being ordered deported are telling stories of the religious persecution that drove them out of their country.

They are speaking at an event today during a visit by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who has sponsored a bill to try and reopen their cases.

The New York Democrat is visiting The Reformed Church of Highland Park to urge passage of legislation that would give Indonesian Christians living and working in the U.S. under a special agreement the chance to reopen their asylum bids.

Maloney says the U.S. should uphold its tradition of supporting those fleeing religious persecution.A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the three men being given sanctuary in the church have final orders of deportation.

Related coverage:

Photos: Saul Timisela takes refuge at the Reformed Church of Highland Park

Indonesian immigrant avoids deportation, seeks refuge at Highland Park church

More than 80 N.J. Indonesian Christians receive temporary reprieve from deportation

Obama’s signal to Iran

Filed under: Iran, National Security, Sanctions — - @ 11:56 am

Source WaPo

Obama’s signal to Iran

By David Ignatius

President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added)

This verbal message was sent through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Khamenei last week. A few days before traveling to Iran, Erdogan had held a two-hour meeting with Obama in Seoul, in which they discussed what Erdogan would tell the ayatollah about the nuclear issue and Syria.

Obama advised Erdogan that the Iranians should realize that time is running out for a peaceful settlement and that Tehran should take advantage of the current window for negotiations. Obama didn’t specify whether Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium domestically as part of the civilian program the United States would endorse. That delicate issue evidently would be left for the negotiations that are supposed to start April 13, at a venue yet to be decided.

Erdogan is said to have replied that he would convey Obama’s views to Khamenei, and it’s believed he did so when he met the Iranian leader on Thursday. Erdogan also met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior Iranian officials during his visit.

The statement highlighted by Obama as a potential starting point was made on state television in February. Khamenei said: “The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. . . . Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

The challenge for negotiators is whether it’s possible to turn Khamenei’s public rhetoric into a serious and verifiable commitment not to build a bomb. When Obama cited this statement to Erdogan as something to build on, the Turkish leader is said to have nodded in agreement.

But the diplomatic path still seems blocked, judging by recent haggling over the meeting place for negotiations. Istanbul was expected to be the venue, but the Iranians last weekend balked and suggested instead that negotiators meet in Iraq or China. U.S. officials see this foot-dragging as a sign that the Iranian leadership is still struggling to frame its negotiating position.

The Erdogan back channel to Iran is the most dramatic evidence yet of the close relationship Obama has forged with the Turkish leader. Erdogan, who heads an Islamist party that is often cited as a model by Muslim democrats, has been a key U.S. partner in handling Syria and other crises flowing from the Arab Spring uprisings.

A sign of Erdogan’s role as intermediary is that he was accompanied, both in the meeting with Obama and on the trip to Iran, by Hakan Fidan, the chief of Turkey’s intelligence service. Fidan is said to have close relations with Qassem Suleimani, who heads Iran’s Quds Force and is probably Khamenei’s closest adviser on security issues. Also joining Erdogan was Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister.

Syria was another big topic in Erdogan’s discussions with Obama and his subsequent visit to Iran. The Turkish leader told Obama he would press Iran to reduce its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Erdogan once championed but is now determined to oust. Erdogan said he planned to tell Khamenei that Syrian attacks on Muslim opposition forces must stop. The Turks have been trying, meanwhile, to bolster the opposition so that it can provide a credible alternative to Assad’s rule.

Some Arab analysts see a weakening of support for Assad in recent days from Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, whose leader Hasan Nasrallah last week called for a “political solution” with the opposition. The key player in any such managed transition would be Russia’s president-elect, Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials hope he can broker a Syria deal before he meets Obama at the G-8 summit next month.

As Iran’s leadership debates its negotiating stance, the squeeze of Western sanctions is becoming tighter. Nat Kern, the editor of Foreign Reports, a leading oil newsletter, forecasts that Iran will lose about a third of its oil exports by mid-summer. It may get even worse for Iran after July 1 if China and the European Union follow through on recent warnings that they might stop insuring tankers carrying Iranian crude.

U.S. officials believe that if Iran refuses to negotiate, it will be easier to tighten sanctions even more.

davidignatius@washpost.com

Over US mother, Islamist likely out of Egypt race

Source Seattle Times

Over US mother, Islamist likely out of Egypt race

Egypt’s election commission confirmed Thursday that the mother of a popular Islamist presidential hopeful was an American citizen, effectively disqualifying him from the race and likely boosting the chances of the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate.

By MAGGIE MICHAEL

Associated Press

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a likely candidate for the presidency, outside the Syrian embassy in Cairo

CAIRO —Egypt’s election commission confirmed Thursday that the mother of a popular Islamist presidential hopeful was an American citizen, effectively disqualifying him from the race and likely boosting the chances of the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate.The ruling is likely to draw an uproar from supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail, a 50-year-old lawyer-turned-preacher who in recent months vaulted to become one of the strongest contenders for president, with widespread backing from ultra-conservative Muslims known as Salafis.

The announcement is particularly embarrassing for Abu Ismail, who used anti-U.S. rhetoric in his campaign speeches and rejected “dependency” on America. In recent weeks, he repeatedly denied reports that began circulating that his late mother held U.S. citizenship.

A law put in place after last year’s fall of President Hosni Mubarak stipulates that a candidate may not have any other citizenship than Egyptian – and that the candidate’s spouse and parents cannot have other citizenships as well.

The commission, however, did not outright disqualify Abu Ismail because it has not yet begun the process of vetting would-be candidates’ applications.

Abu Ismail is likely to fight for a way to stay in the race. Late Thursday, he urged his supporters to be patient because he was still fighting to prove that his mother’s documents didn’t amount to a full citizenship. He said the controversy was a mere plot to “slander” him.

“It has become clear to us that there is a big and elaborate plot, tightly prepared for a long time from many directions, internally and externally,” he said, without naming anyone.

Before the commission’s announcement, Abu Ismail’s campaign was vowing to hold a huge rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday against what they see as a conspiracy to keep him out of the race.

“The massive army of his supporters will rally because we will not be silent over forgery and games,” said his campaign chief Gamal Saber.

As Sunday is the cut-off date for hopefuls to apply to run, the field for the May 23-24 election is beginning to become clearer after weeks of uncertainty. Barring last minute surprises, it appears to be headed to a contest focused between the Brotherhood candidate Khairat el-Shater and largely former regime figures, the popular ex-foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa and a former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.

Abu Ismail’s disqualification would remove el-Shater’s main competitor for the powerful Islamist vote. The Brotherhood, which is the country’s strongest political movement, announced last weekend that el-Shater – its deputy leader – would run. Since then, el-Shater has been heavily courting Salafis, a movement that is more hard-line than the fundamentalist Brotherhood.

Another significant Islamist candidate remains, Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, a reformer who was thrown out of the Brotherhood last year and is trying to appeal both to religious and more secular-minded Egyptians.

Moussa’s chances were boosted Wednesday when former Mubarak-era strongman and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman announced he would not run. Though widely distrusted as a symbol of the old regime, he might have found support among the liberals and moderates that Moussa is courting and who fear the Islamists’ rising power.

On Thursday, the 61-year-old el-Shater waved at some 3,000 supporters chanting, “Islam is back,” as he entered the election commission headquarters to formally submit his papers to run. He handed in more than 250 endorsements from lawmakers from the Brotherhood party and the Salafi Al-Nour Party, needed to qualify to join the race.

To run for president, a candidate needs endorsements from lawmakers or a party. Otherwise, the candidate must gather some 30,000 endorsements from the public across different parts of Egypt.

Just a week ago, Abu Ismail flexed his muscles by submitting his documents amid a giant rally by his supporters, who stretched from his home to the commission headquarters. He handed in some 150,000 public endorsements, five times the required number.

His face – smiling, with a long, conservative beard – had become ubiquitous in Cairo and other cities because of a startlingly aggressive postering campaign that plastered walls and lampposts with his picture and the slogan, “We will live in dignity.”

Abu Ismail rose to fame through his religious sermons and TV programs promising to guide Muslims to the “right path to Islam.” He joined early on in the protests against Mubarak last year and after his fall struck a defiant tone against the military generals who took power.

When reports concerning his mother began circulating, Abu Ismail insisted she only had a Green Card to visit her daughter, who is married to an American, lives in the United States and has citizenship there.

But in a statement Thursday on the state news agency MENA, the election commission said it received documents from the Interior Ministry proving that Abu Ismail’s mother had a U.S. passport she used to travel a number of time to the U.S.. The mother also traveled to Germany and Egypt using the U.S. passport in 2008 and 2009, it said.

The commission starts reviewing would-be candidates’ papers after Sunday’s deadline.

Egypt: ‘Islamocracy’ under Military Rule

Source JCPA

Egypt: ‘Islamocracy’ under Military Rule

By Jacques Neriah

A year after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt seems to be drifting into an unparalleled and unprecedented form of government and a unique political experiment in the Arab world: power and authority are being divided between Muslim fundamentalists led by the Muslim Brotherhood and their rivals in ideology, the Salafists. Both are partisans of an Islamocracy (meaning a combination of theocracy and democracy), with Field Marshall Mohammad Hussein Tantawi orchestrating the twenty or so members of the Army General Staff, acting as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), as the supreme rulers of Egypt. The only remaining question is: to what extent will each of the contenders avoid stepping onto his neighbor’s turf? In other words, will the Islamists, as the main hijackers of the democracy movement in Egypt, accept that the military will remain the source of power and authority in their Islamocracy?

Indeed, the transition process of handing power from the military to the “democratically” elected civilian bodies seems to be stuck and has become the focus of friction between the SCAF and the Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, the great winners of the parliamentary elections organized in 2011-2012. The military is not in a hurry to subordinate itself to the civilian authorities, while the Islamists, although eager to capture power as the legitimate winners of the democratic process, behave as if they are afraid to provoke the military. They fear a confrontation that could lead to widespread bloodshed, similar to Algeria in 1990 when Islamists won the first free elections in the young nation’s history, triggering a civil war with 20,000 casualties before Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned to power with army support.

As a result, the two sides in Egypt periodically check the extent of their authority and assess the limits to which they can act independently without provoking a reaction by the other side. From this perspective, it seems obvious that the episodes of violent confrontation that have occurred in Egypt in the process of political transition are not due to a lack of experience but rather are the result of a strategy on the part of the SCAF. According to Stephan Roll from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, this strategy has three additional components: gauging public opinion, obscuring decision-making processes, and playing the various political parties and movements off against one another. This strategy became evident in the debate over the design of the new Egyptian Constitution. In March 2011 the SCAF announced that a new constitution would be drafted by a constituent assembly. However, in late 2011 when it became clear that the Islamists would dominate the process after winning the elections, secular-oriented politicians pressed for the adoption of “supra-constitutional principles” that would guarantee the establishment of a democratic state with civilian rule. The SCAF tried to use those demands to its own benefit by introducing a document outlining principles of a revised constitution that granted the military even greater authority than it had possessed under the previous constitution: complete control over the defense budget and veto power over all decisions affecting the military. Massive protests convinced the SCAF to withdraw the motion.

On the other hand, since the beginning of the January 25 revolution against Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood has avoided any direct confrontation with the SCAF. Members of the Brotherhood appear to repeatedly seek dialog with the SCAF. The Muslim Brotherhood strategy remains the same as it was under the previous regime: to change the system from within. The Muslim Brotherhood received 41 percent of the Egyptian vote, with 26 percent going to Muslim extremists known as Salafists, a jihadist movement that believes in “holy war” against the “crusaders,” i.e., Christians and Jews. In Arnaud de Borchgrave’s words, “what these two branches of Islam have in common is their idea of “free” elections – one-man, one-vote, one-time. After their expected victory, Egyptians can forget about another free election as far as anyone can peer into the future.”

Indeed, since the Brotherhood is focused on domestic policy, it should have no intrinsic problem accepting the fact that the military will decide on matters of national security and foreign policy, at least initially. This does not mean that motions in the National Assembly will not be raised and discussed and attempts will even be made to constantly undermine the authority of the SCAF. Recent months have provided sufficient proof that although the legislators in the National Assembly have debated and made decisions on crucial issues, the SCAF has either ignored these decisions or worse, adopted steps completely opposed to the decisions of the National Assembly.

Key Issues

a. The NGO Issue: The SCAF decided to release the American defendants in the court case involving pro-democracy NGOs (including the son of the U.S. Transport Secretary), who had been barred from leaving Egypt, after the State Department paid $300,000 bail for each of them. The judge appointed to deal with the case decided on the first day of hearings that the case would be adjourned for a few months. The SCAF is clearly indicating to American legislators that it is still to be considered a U.S. ally and that no limitations should be put on the $1.3 billion in U.S. aid that finances as much as 80 percent of Egyptian military procurement. This contrasts very clearly with the March 11 National Assembly vote to order an end to this aid, a reflection of tensions with the U.S. over the NGO activists charged with illegal activity.

b. Relations with Israel: Even though the atmosphere in Cairo today is not in favor of Israel (as it never really was in the past), the SCAF has given its approval for the continued presence of the Israeli ambassador in Cairo. The SCAF accepted Israel’s regrets for the killing of several Egyptian soldiers in the aftermath of a terrorist action on the road to Eilat in summer 2011. In March 2012, Egyptian intelligence head Murad Mowafi again brokered a cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. For the eleventh time, Egypt has repaired the gas pipeline with Israel and beefed up its troops in Sinai in its quest to “reconquer” this part of Egypt which had been left to al-Qaeda and Bedouin operatives.

c. The Challenge from Within: Following the departure of the American NGO defendants, Egypt’s parliament voted on March 10 to begin steps to withdraw confidence from the military-appointed government, a move that will pressure the SCAF to appoint a new cabinet led by the Muslim Brotherhood. A vote of no-confidence would take Egypt into new political waters and could set the stage for a confrontation if the SCAF refused to yield to the will of the National Assembly. It could also complicate negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a $3.2 billion loan the government of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri is seeking in order to stave off a looming financial crisis after more than a year of political and economic turmoil. The problem for the Egyptian government is that it could not afford to continue antagonizing Washington for too long. Egypt is rapidly running out of foreign exchange reserves. The financial shortfall was created both by the collapse in business and the tourist trade following the revolution, and also as the long-term consequence of an unsustainably high and growing level of public subsidies. The IMF loan is vital if the country is to prevent a severe financial crisis.

d. Domestic Repression: According to several sources, more than 12,000 civilians have been detained by military tribunals in the past year – more than in the Mubarak era that lasted over 30 years. One year after the president’s fall, not a single senior officer in any Egyptian security force has been convicted in the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising. Only recently did an Egyptian court rule as illegal the so-called “virginity tests” endured by hundreds of women who were arrested at rallies, demonstrations or protests. This procedure, performed by male doctors, was used as customary practice by the military.

e. The Trial of Former President Hosni Mubarak: The trial of the former president was slow to start after the revolution. Since he left office, Mubarak has spent no time in prison, instead remaining under 24-hour medical watch at advanced medical facilities. His defense lawyers have been allowed to call hundreds of witnesses, a process that could delay his trial indefinitely. And while Mubarak is granted all of the protections of due process, civilians facing much lesser charges are being tried rapidly in military tribunals. Lawyers, victims, and revolutionary groups have questioned the intentions of the SCAF or government prosecutors to deliver true justice.

To sum up, it seems that the military has managed to outmaneuver other forces in the country (Islamists, revolutionary youth, liberals, business elites, and even foreign governments) by creating conditions on the ground whereby everybody discreetly feels the military should play a role in safeguarding the political process, despite calls for its complete marginalization from political life. It is no coincidence that the only actual democracy Egyptians have ever experienced in five millennia was between 1946, the end of the British mandate, and 1952 when Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser and his “Free Officers” seized power and overthrew the monarchy. Egypt’s military held power for the next 60 years (18 years under Nasser, 12 with Anwar Sadat, and 30 with Hosni Mubarak) and it does not seem likely that Field Marshall Tantawi would be the last of Egypt’s military rulers. Nevertheless, unlike the past, there might be a situation of co-existence between the military and the growing power of Islam in Egyptian society. On this front the military can do very little. The external expressions of Islamocracy are widespread today in Egypt. It would be a fair assessment to say that they are here to last. But in no way does this have to be antagonistic to the actual military rule that still prevails in Egypt.

In today’s reality, a power-sharing arrangement between the SCAF and the Islamists seems very likely. One possible compromise would be to delineate specific areas as domains under the authority of the president-elect, with the establishment of a National Defense Council, much as the SCAF is today, to support him in these policy areas. Such a body is already provided for in the old constitution (Article 182), but it has only an advisory role. The executive roles adopted by the SCAF are pure improvisations because of the political vacuum created by the resignation of Mubarak. Such an alternative could appease the military but would limit the powers of the president and the Islamist-led National Assembly. In other words, it would be the continuation of the situation that prevails today in Egypt. Such an arrangement between the parties would hold as long as the specter of civil war remained present or as long as the Islamists continue to accept the supremacy in power of the military. Any detected weakness in the behavior of the military would be interpreted as a sign to end the de-facto arrangement.

About Jacques Neriah

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

2012/04/06

Muslim Brotherhood seeks U.S. alliance as it ascends in Egypt

Source Washington Times

Muslim Brotherhood seeks U.S. alliance as it ascends in Egypt

Vows to honor treaty with Israel

By Ben Birnbaum

A lawmaker from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday that there would be “no referendum at all” on the country’s peace treaty with Israel, hours after the Islamist group’s presidential candidate made his unexpected bid official.

“We respect international obligations, period,” Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a lawmaker from the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told The Washington Times.

Mr. Dardery was on a good-will tour of Washington this week with three other Muslim Brotherhood representatives. Long shunned by Washington, the group has sought to soften its image in the West as it prepares to assume greater power in post-revolution Egypt.

On Thursday, the White House downplayed the significance of a meeting between administration officials and the Brotherhood’s envoys.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the FJP representatives met with “midlevel” officials from the National Security Council and that it was a reflection of the new politics in Egypt and the “prominent role” the group now plays in Cairo.

“We have broadened our engagement to include new and emerging political parties and actors,” Mr. Carney said.

“Because of the fact that Egypt’s political landscape has changed, the actors have become more diverse and our engagement reflects that,” he said. “The point is that we will judge Egypt’s political actors by how they act, not by their religious affiliation.”

Presidential ambitions

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendancy to power in the aftermath of longtime President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year has raised concerns among secular Egyptians and Coptic Christians, as well as U.S. and Israeli officials, about how the fundamentalist group would rule Egypt’s 85 million people and conduct its foreign relations.

Asked whether a Brotherhood-led government would put the 1979 Camp David Accords to a referendum, as many of the group’s leaders have promised, Mr. Dardery said no.

“No referendum at all concerning international obligations,” he said. “All our international agreements are respected by the Freedom and Justice Party, including Camp David.”

Meanwhile, FJP presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater filed papers Thursday with Egypt’s High Presidential Elections Commission. Egyptians will vote in the presidential election’s first round May 23 and 24, with the top two vote-getters facing off in a June 16 runoff.

The Brotherhood had promised not to field a presidential candidate but changed course Saturday, citing threats to democracy from the military council that has ruled Egypt since Mr. Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.

In Washington, Mr. Dardery said the Brotherhood fielded a candidate “to make sure that [the] democracy road is protected by the people of Egypt,” arguing that the military council had refused to give the parliament sufficient authority.

Mr. Shater, a businessman with a reputation for cunning pragmatism, joins a crowded field that includes Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abdoul Futouh. Salafist preacher Hazem Abu Ismail was disqualified Thursday, increasing Mr. Shater’s chances for victory.

Doubts about democracy

A poll taken by Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper found that 58 percent prefer an Islamist candidate.

With Mr. Shater’s entry, some analysts now doubt that Mr. Moussa – once considered the overwhelming favorite – will make the runoff.

“Egypt is not moving toward a democracy,” said Eric Trager, an Egypt analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It is moving toward a competitive theocracy in which the Muslim Brotherhood is pitted against more fundamentalist Salafists.

“The question is only which interpretation of the Shariah will be legislated, not whether Egypt will be a theocratic state.”

The FJP and the hard-line Salafist Nour Party won two-thirds of the seats in recent parliamentary elections and now dominate the constituent assembly tasked with writing Egypt’s new constitution.

The prospect of unchecked Islamist control has frightened secular Egyptians as well as the country’s large Coptic Christian community, which has faced escalating violence over the past year.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said this week that U.S. officials “want to see Egypt move forward in a democratic transition, and what that means is you do not and cannot discriminate against religious minorities, women, political opponents.”

Egypt’s Islamist tide also has sparked concerns in Israel, which has maintained a cold but stable peace with its southern neighbor since 1979.

“The Muslim Brothers will not show mercy to us, they will not give way to us, but I hope they will keep the peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday. “It is important for us, but I think that it is also important for Egypt.”

Despite Mr. Dardery’s statements Thursday, many analysts remain skeptical about the Brotherhood’s true intentions.

Trouble in the Sinai

“Their discourse back at home about Israel being an enemy is consistent with where they have been all along, and I don’t think we should expect any change,” said Steven Cook, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “The Struggle for Egypt.”

“I think their hope is that they can put [the peace treaty] to the side at least for the moment, but the fact that they called for this referendum, the fact that they’ve used this issue makes it hard to believe that they wouldn’t bow to any political pressure [on Israel].”

Israel has had tense relations with Egypt’s military council, which the Jewish state says has not done enough to prevent terrorists from operating in the Sinai Peninsula.

Early Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu warned that the Sinai is becoming a “terror zone” after a rocket fired from the territory struck the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat. No injuries were reported.

The prospect of a further deterioration in relations between the two countries would raise difficult questions for Washington, which has given Egypt roughly $2 billion in aid annually since 1979.

“If they no longer respect agreements reached under previous governments, then they’re not a country worthy of our support,” said Rep. Gary L. Ackerman of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East and South Asia subcommittee.

But Mr. Ackerman, echoing a now-common school of thought in Washington, told The Times that Mr. Shater’s candidacy might be a positive development given the alternative.

“If I was writing the morning line on who can beat the Salafists, it’s the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “And if I have to choose between horrible and not that great, I’ll take not that great.”

Susan Crabtree contributed to this report.

As a Side Note:

A 1991 document written by U.S. MB leader Mohammed Akram (a.k.a. Mohammed Adlouni)explains the goal of the Brotherhood in America, which he identifies as “settlement:”

The general strategic goal of the Brotherhood in America which was approved bythe Shura [Leadership] Council and the Organizational Conference for 1987 is“enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and sta-ble Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observantMuslim base; aims at unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts; presents Islam as acivilization alternative; and supports the global Islamic state, wherever it is.” …Thepriority that is approved by the Shura Council for the work of the Brotherhood inits current and former session is “Settlement.”

The document goes on to explain that “settlement” is a form of jihad aimed at destroying Westerncivilization from within and allowing for the victory of Islam over other religions:The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist process” with all that the wordmeans. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sab-otaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so thatit is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have notprepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and workwherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is noescape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slack-ers and the Mujahidin be equal.

In another part of the document titled “The Process of Settlement,” the author explains that forthe Brotherhood’s goals to be accomplished, it is necessary to have a strong organizational base:In order for Islam and its Movement to become “a part of the homeland” in whichit lives, “stable” in its land, “rooted” in the spirits and minds of its people,“enabled” in the life of its society, [with] firmly established “organizations” onwhich the Islamic structure is built and with which the testimony of civilization isachieved, the Movement must plan and struggle to obtain “the keys” and the toolsof this process in carrying out this grand mission as a “Civilization-Jihadist”responsibility which lies on the shoulders of Muslims and—on top of them—theMuslim Brotherhood in this country….”

Read the entire PDF here Muslim Brotherhood of the United States

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MUSLIM STUDENTS ASSOCIATION — MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY (MSA MSU)

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2012/04/05

Sudan Gives 500,000-Plus Christians One Week to Leave

Filed under: Christianity, Islam, Jihad, Persecution, Shari'a Law, Sudan — - @ 1:15 pm

Source Family Security Matters

Sudan Gives 500,000-Plus Christians One Week to Leave

by Ryan Mauro

The Sudanese regime is on its way to becoming the next Iran, regardless of whether President Omar Bashir remains in power or not. The country is moving towards becoming a full-blown sharia state, comparable to Iran, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban. Towards that end, 500-700,000 Christians have been told to pack up and leave by April 8 or they’ll be treated as foreigners.

The Bashir regime has always been an enemy of the U.S. and those who value human rights, but it is now doing everything it can to please its Islamist opposition. The regime knew it would raise the ire of the Islamists when it allowed the mostly-Christian region of South Sudan to become an independent country. In the hopes of staving off a rebellion, Bashir promised to remodel his country based on sharia law with Arabic as the only official language. He also promised not to seek another term in 2015.

Bashir’s most powerful opponent is a cleric named Hasan al-Turabi, the leader of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is hard to overstate his impact on the growth of Islamic extremism and terrorism. He has been called “Sudan’s Osama” and “The Pope of Terrorism.” After helping Bashir come to power, Turabi used his base in Sudan to build close relationships with every virtually single Islamic terrorist group and government. He worked hard to bring together secularists like Saddam Hussein, Sunni radicals like Osama Bin Laden and Shiite radicals like Iran and Hezbollah into a common anti-Western front. Turabi became close with Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, though he today criticizes some of their tactics as being “counterproductive.”

After South Sudan seceded, the Islamists demanded that Bashir made good on his word. They formed the Islamic Constitution Front and drafted a sharia-based constitution. The imam of Khartoum’s Grand Mosque endorsed it and said Bashir must “either rule by Islam or go.” Other members of the group explicitly said they’d revolt if their wishes aren’t granted.

Bashir, right, declared that that any person whose great-grandparents were born in the south or is part of a southern ethnic group will no longer be considered a citizen after April 8. That means that the country’s 500-700,000 Christians must get out now or have their rights reduced to that of a foreigner. This is nowhere in the news. Imagine if Israel had issued such an order to 100 Palestinians.

The Sudanese Christians are facing increasing persecution. In February, eight bombs were dropped on a Christian college built by Franklin Graham’s charity. Humanitarian aid is being blocked to those in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile Provinces, forcing the U.S. to consider an operation to rescue about 500,000 people from imminent famine. Any presence of foreign troops in this area would probably trigger a call to jihad by Islamist clerics and possibly the Bashir regime.

This isn’t to say that Bashir is a friend of the U.S. who was pushed into a corner. It is true that his regime has become much more cooperative on counter-terrorism since 2001. The State Department nearly delisted it as a State Sponsor of Terrorism last year as a reward for letting South Sudan vote on independence. The State Department’s eagerness to mend ties with Sudan led it to overlook its ongoing support for terrorism.

The State Department conceded that Hamas, Al-Qaeda and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operate in Sudan. It reassured us that the regime “does not openly support the presence” of the latter two, but doesn’t preclude the possibility of secret support. After all, Bashir’s rule is tyrannical and it’s hard to believe that high-profile terrorist groups could operate in Sudan without the regime knowing.

The State Department downplayed Sudan’s support for Hamas, saying it is limited to fundraising. This is demonstrably false. Israel has carried out airstrikes on convoys delivering Iranian arms to Hamas through Sudan since January 2009. There were two strikes in December 2011 alone. An opposition newspaper was shut down in 2010 after it disclosed the existence of an Iranian arms factory in Khartoum used to supply Hamas and Iranian-backed militants in Yemen and Somalia. This is made all the more serious when you consider the fact that when Ayatollah Khamenei visited Sudan in 2006, he declared that Iran would share its nuclear technology with Islamic allies.

Omar Bashir will either implement the Islamist agenda or they will remove him from power and do it themselves. Either way, Sudan is on the way to joining the ranks of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel.

A Quiet Transformation in China’s Approach to Israel

Filed under: Arab Nations, China, Israel — - @ 9:17 am

A fascinating read. W

Source JCPA

A Quiet Transformation in China’s Approach to Israel

Vol. 12, No. 6    2 April 2012

  • In recent years, the world has witnessed China’s growing involvement in the international arena – whether through its veto in the UN Security Council, its military conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and contributing to peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East, buying U.S. and EU debt, or its declaration that the South China Sea is an integral part of China.
  • In the minds of the Chinese, Jews retain a highly respected status as a people who have survived over the millennia against all odds and have attained achievements that belie their miniscule numbers. The Chinese take great pride in Shanghai’s status as one of the only cities in the world that accepted Jewish refugees during World War II.
  • In the 12th Five-Year Plan, published in 2011, China’s leadership announced a national intention to raise the country from being the world’s factory to becoming a leading innovator. This new focus led the Chinese to seek the potential contribution of Israel – the “Start-Up Nation.”
  • Interactions between China and Israel had risen significantly over the years but had remained largely “off the record,” due to the Arab nations’ strong influence on the PRC leadership’s public approach to Israel. In 2011 this began to change. Five formally acknowledged Israel Studies programs were established across China, and in September, China’s most powerful political body – the Communist Party – expressed a formal interest in Israel’s political echelons in a public fashion by participating in the first-ever China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
  • Despite its close ties with the Arab world, China was caught completely off guard by the Arab Spring. They were devastated by the $20 billion in losses they suffered with the fall of Gaddafi, hammering home their lack of understanding of the Middle East. In their search for accurate and reliable information, leading academics began to seek out Israel, an island of stability whose geographic proximity to the Arab Spring offers unique access.

China’s Growing International Involvement

Historically China was inward looking, for over 1200 years seeking no role in the international theater. The world’s most populous nation was preoccupied with its own culture, history, and survival.

Driven by the pressing goal to feed and provide basic resources to their people, the Chinese leadership ventured outside their territory beginning in the early 1980s. While this trend grew, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) kept its head down and focused on building its economy and pulling itself out of the turmoil and desolation created by the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Within 25 years, this Asian nation transformed itself into an economic power and China has bestowed new responsibilities on the nation’s government. In recent years, the world has witnessed China’s growing involvement in the international arena – whether through its veto in the UN Security Council,1 the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden2 and contributing to peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East, buying U.S. and EU debt,3 or its declaration that the South China Sea is an integral part of China.4

Israel-China Relations

Though the Israeli government extended recognition to China on January 9, 1950, it took until January 1992 for the two nations to establish formal diplomatic relations.5 Subsequent to an August 1950 resolution by the Arab League forbidding any Arab country from acknowledging China, the 1955 Bandung Conference was held which excluded Israel and forged a bond between China and the Arab world.6 Nevertheless, as China came to recognize Israel’s potential to contribute to its economic and military modernization goals, clandestine military exchanges between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the PLA slowly developed. They began with an initial contact made at the Paris Air Show in 1975. By the early 1980s, Israeli technology in the fields of agriculture, solar energy, information and communications technology, and construction made their way to Asia’s largest nation.7

Sino-Israel relations took a turn for the worse, however, when Israel adhered to a U.S. mandate to renege on a major sale in 1999 of the Phalcon, a sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft that would allow the Chinese to gather intelligence at a distance,8 and again in 2004, when Israel began repairs and upgrades on the Harpy drones, laser-guided unmanned aircraft Israel had sold to China in 1994. Israel eventually succumbed to U.S. pressure, backing out of its earlier agreements with the PRC.9

Economic Synergies Form Common Ground

While political relations deteriorated significantly, Israel continued to contribute to agricultural and water technology advancement in China.10 Over time and with great effort by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, business interaction was soon revived and growth was nurtured. The value of total bilateral imports and exports reached $7.65 billion in 2010, nearly 150 times their 1992 value.11 In the minds of the Chinese, Jews retain a highly respected status as a people who have survived over the millennia against all odds and have attained achievements that belie their miniscule numbers. China is a nation with no indigenous anti-Semitism. The Chinese continue to see Jews and themselves as two ancient civilizations, with shared values in, among others, family, education, and hard work. The Chinese continue to take great pride in Shanghai’s status as one of the only cities in the world that accepted Jewish refugees during World War II.12

Beyond cultural affinities, key occurrences in the past few years have engendered a noticeable warming in China-Israel relations. In the economic arena, the 2008 subprime debacle drew the economies of the West into recession, causing Israeli businesses to look east in a more comprehensive and serious fashion. In 2010, Foxconn,13 the leading manufacturer of such products as the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360, with 13 factories across China, suffered suicides by a number of its employees said to be protesting oppressive pressure in the workplace. China’s leadership responded by making innovation a priority in the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan, published in 2011. The ruling Communist Party announced a national intention to raise the country from being the world’s factory to becoming a leading innovator. This new focus led the Chinese to seek the potential contribution of Israel – the “Start-Up Nation.”14

With Wealth Comes Responsibility

Economic factors influenced political ones. During 2010, China was internationally recognized as having the second largest economy in the world, following the U.S.A. This led to growing self-confidence by China’s leadership and the nation as a whole. One manifestation of its new self-image was the political echelon’s public acknowledgment of a growing interest in relations with Israel. Interactions between the two countries had risen significantly over the previous years but had remained largely “off the record.” For example, prior to this transformation in attitude, China’s provincial leaders and other officials and diplomats could visit Israel to advance business, finance, technology, and science exchanges. However, few could formally meet with Israel’s political sector or deal with Israel regarding geopolitics. This stemmed in part from the Arab nations’ strong influence on the PRC leadership’s public approach to Israel.

Signs of change were subtle but convincing. SIGNAL (Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership) experienced the transformation firsthand through our research in mid-2010 investigating China’s interest in high-level academic interchanges with Israel. We learned that there were 10 Jewish Studies centers across China, all established over the past 20 years. However, there was not a single Israel Studies program. This was a symptom of China’s official attitude towards Israel – the study of Judaism and Jewish history is non-political and non-offensive to the Arab world. Studying Israel, however, would indicate an official sanctioning of the Jewish nation as an academic focus.

When SIGNAL proposed the idea of establishing Israel Studies Programs at Chinese universities in mid-2010, a university in Southwest China responded with great interest. The director of their Jewish Studies Institute wanted to re-name the center “Israel Studies.” However, she was advised by more experienced and politically connected scholars that just making such a request could shut down the center. If there was interest in Israel Studies, it should be done quietly, without any formal acknowledgment. In 2011, SIGNAL established five formally acknowledged Israel Studies programs across China. Less than one year into the program, the same university that was advised to avoid the word “Israel” submitted a request to China’s Ministry of Education to form an Israel Studies center. It was now possible to obtain official government funding for a program bearing the name “Israel.”

Academia Bridging the Gap

Another example of change in China’s official approach to Israel was the staging of the first-ever China-Israel Strategic Studies conference. Never before had scholars from China and Israel come together to address geopolitical issues of mutual concern. SIGNAL’s due diligence in mid-2010 indicated that high-level and influential Chinese academics and experts would not come to Israel for such an event, nor would they host one in China. The alternative was to hold the event at a leading university in the U.S.A. – capitalizing on China’s strong interest in improving U.S.-China relations. However, in late 2010 there was a glimmer of change in China’s public recognition of Israel. China’s Communist Party invited the Likud “foreign minister” to visit.

Since Israel’s political parties do not have foreign ministers, the ruling Likud Party sent MK Yuli Edelstein. Perhaps more significant was the Communist Party’s invitation to Edelstein to participate in a “think tank conference” joining the Likud Party think tank with the Communist Party think tank. While China’s Communist Party did not realize that Israel’s political parties do not have affiliated think tanks, the salient point was that the party publicly invited Israel’s ruling party to take part in an Israel-China academic event focusing on issues of political interest. The significance of this development lay in China’s most powerful political body expressing formal interest in Israel’s political echelons in a public fashion. Due to this transformation in attitude, in September 2011, SIGNAL held the first-ever China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, co-hosted by the Center for Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) and in conjunction with the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Lauder School of Government.

2011 proved to be a banner year for warming China-Israel relations. Official visits between the two governments grew in both number and rank, capped with visits by General Chen Bingde and Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. But for all the governmental and academic exchanges taking place, on close examination it becomes clear that China’s leadership continues to lack a basic understanding of Israel and the region. The minimal information they and their academic advisors do have is primarily sourced via their 50-year-old network of affiliations throughout the Arab world and Iran. Israel and China share no such network of trusted associations built over years of studying in each other’s universities, touring each other’s countrysides, or interacting extensively within shared diplomatic frameworks.

“Arab Spring” Stirs Mid-East Policy

Despite their close ties with the Arab world, China’s government and ruling party were caught completely off guard by the Arab Spring. They were in virtual shock to discover that 65,000 of their citizens were working in Libya when the evacuation of foreigners from that country began, and were devastated by the $20 billion in losses they suffered with the fall of Gaddafi,15 hammering home their lack of understanding of the Middle East. In response, China’s leaders directed their academic advisors to find new avenues for investigation. In their search for accurate and reliable information as well as analysis and interpretation, leading academics from Beijing and Shanghai began to seek out Israel. They learned that Israel is an island of stability, while its geographic proximity to the Arab Spring offers unique access without being drawn into the fray.

Perhaps due in part to the Arab Spring, the ambassadors of the 22 Arab nations have been putting increasing pressure on China to take action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As is often the case in China, policy advice on such matters is sourced to the nation’s leading academic community. The Middle East Research Center at Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) developed a new model for diplomatic involvement in the Middle East and North Africa. In response to the Arab community’s complaint that China sits on its proverbial hands, showing indifference to the region, the Center coined the new program, “Constructive Participation.” “Constructive Participation,” which aims to be the new paradigm for Chinese public diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa, infers China’s gradual shift away from its traditional “non-interference” policy towards a strategy in which government, businesses, and NGOs seek to contribute to the development of the region.

The Middle East Center’s pilot trip brought a 30-person delegation of business leaders and scholars to Israel and the PA on February 26-29, 2012. The CEOs, presidents, and general managers comprised the largest group of high-level business people ever to come to Israel and the PA for the sole purpose of investment. The scholars accompanying them aimed to promote economic stability while collecting empirical information on the region in order to carry out “Constructive Participation.”

China’s economic achievements have created a new reality for the world’s most populous nation. Demands and expectations internally and externally will continue to grow and to some extent, China will be seeking out Israel, its scholars, and experts as a trusted source of information and greater understanding in order to meet the responsibilities brought by its economic success.

* * *

Notes

1. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/russia-china-veto-un-security-council-resolution-on-syria-1.411033

2. http://maritimeindia.org/article/military-operations-other-war-pla-navys-role-peaceful-development-china

3. http://www.iss.europa.eu/publications/detail/article/how-the-debt-crisis-can-advance-sino-european-relations/

4. http://peoplesreview.com.np/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7897:explosion-in-the-south-china-sea&catid=40:view-point&Itemid=59

5. E. Zev Suffot, “Israel’s China Policy 1950-1992,” Israel Affairs 7 (2000): 103; Zhang Shuguang, “Constructing ‘Peaceful Coexistence: China’s Diplomacy Toward the Geneva and Bandung Conferences, 1954-1955,” Cold War History 7.4 (2007): 514.

6. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-09/07/c_131112714.htm

7. John Burns, “Israel and China Quietly Form Trade Bonds,” New York Times, July 22, 1985.

8. http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp473.htm

9. http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2004/12/29/Israels-China-US-weapons-dilemma/UPI-26081104355028/

10. http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/foreign-view/2011-03/628938.html

11. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-03/03/content_12106851.htm

12. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5488614

13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn%20-%20cite_note-wsj-5

14. Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (2009).

15. http://chonzfashion.hubpages.com/hub/Chinas-investment-in-Libya-is-more-than-20-billion-and-the-amount-of-loss-is-difficult-to-estimate

*     *     *

About Carice Witte

Carice Witte, SIGNAL’s founder and executive director, is a graduate of Yale University in East Asian Studies with a focus on China and has served as President of the Yale Club of Israel for the past eight years. After a 20-year entrepreneurial career in Israeli high tech and international real estate, Witte merged a commitment to Israel, respect for China, and belief that academia can provide a key to discovering creative approaches leading to much needed solutions by establishing SIGNAL, Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership (中以学术交流促进协会), to enhance strategic, diplomatic, cultural, and economic relationships between China and Israel through academia.

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